Eastbrook woman and friend die in Caratunk crash

ELLSWORTH — The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said an Eastbrook woman and her passenger died after the local woman’s car was struck from behind by a pickup truck, which had been passing the car on Route 201 in Caratunk Saturday.

Police said Jordan Merchant, 25, and her passenger Lindsey Walsh, 28, of Lakeville, Mass., died at the scene.

Merchant was operating a 2018 Chevrolet Cruz, which was struck by a 2019 Dodge Ram pickup truck operated by Eric Tankerley, 33, of Moscow, said Chief Deputy Michael Mitchell. Merchant lost control of her car, which went off the left side of the roadway and struck a tree, police said.

Neither Merchant nor Walsh had been wearing their seat belts, police reported.

“Tankerley and his passenger, Daniel Reis, age 34 of Massachusetts, were not injured and both were reportedly wearing their seat belts,” Mitchell said. “Speed and alcohol appear to have been contributing factors, however, this crash remains under investigation.”

Merchant and Tankerley had been dating, Mitchell said. The group had been at the beach and heading to Tankerley’s residence to watch the Bruins hockey game, the chief deputy said.

Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Bowman is the primary investigator. He was assisted by Sgt. Joseph Jackson and Deputy Michael Lyman.

Mitchell said the Maine State Police are reconstructing the accident.

The Maine Warden Service, along with the Bingham Fire Department and the Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service, assisted deputies at the scene.


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